In an industry awash with slick marketing, glossy mags and tightly curated Instagram accounts, we are prying open complex cans of worms with candid debates...

MakerSpace &co Dirty Design Debate: Australian Design Should Be Made In Australia


MakerSpace &company
2204 NSW

Dirty Design Debate: Australian Design Should be Made In Australia


Trent Jansen, Australian designer

Trent Jansen


Trent Jansen is a designer based in Thirroul, Australia.

Trent holds a Bachelor of Design from the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales in Sydney, spending a portion of his degree in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. 

After a period working under Marcel Wanders in Amsterdam, Trent returned to Australia to set up a design studio in Sydney, before moving his practice to Thirroul on the New South Wales South Coast. 

Trent Jansen’s awards include: Space+Edra Design Residency in 2010, Bombay Sapphire ‘Design Discovery’ Award in 2008, the Spiral ‘Rendez-vous’ Japanese Manufacturing Residency in 2006, the Australia Council for the Arts ‘New Work’ Award in 2005 and the Object ‘New Design’ National Graduate Award in 2004. 

Trent Jansen’s work is in production with Tait, DesignByThem and The Broached Commissions in Australia, Sekimoto in Japan and Moooi in The Netherlands. 

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MakerSpace &co Dirty Design Debate: Australian Design Should Be Made In Australia

Factory Design District

Factory Design District: In Conversation with Trent Jansen

Sarah Gibson

Sarah Gibson

Sarah Gibson

Sarah and Nick Karlovasitis founded DesignByThem in 2006, the brand representing their work alongside other Australian designers. Sarah shares what happened when their independent design brand discovered a major retailer selling an Asian copy of a DbT product.


Jason McDermott

Jason McDermott

Co-founder, Dresden Optics

Jason is a designer, artist and entrepreneur working at the intersection of technology and design.

He has spent nearly ten years working with interactive technologies in the built environment, collaborating with some incredibly smart engineers, designers and thinkers. He has learnt how to be comfortable in the unknown, how to spot connections others ignore & the value of simply getting things done.

He loves to make things, both digitally and with his hands, and he works best in a collaborative environment. He has dabbled in academic research, professional consulting services, large scale interactive public artworks, the iOS app store, podcasting & more. Jason is a co-founder and Director of Dresden, an innovative eyewear startup making high quality prescription eyewear simpler and less expensive.

Naomi Taplin, Studio Enti

Naomi Taplin

Founder/Designer/Maker, Studio Enti

Studio Enti is the design practice of ceramicist Naomi Taplin, producing porcelain tableware, lighting and home decor. Naomi formed Studio Enti in 2013 after completing a Bachelor of Design at the College of Fine Arts, UNSW.

Each unique piece of handmade porcelain is made to be used and enjoyed.  A strong belief in the necessity of good design and concepts of longevity and sustainability are the major driving forces behind the work of Studio Enti. Naomi believes that in order for products to be valued and to fulfill their destiny through use, they need to cleverly cross boundaries of function and beauty, and have imbedded within them an inherent worth and respect for the materials and processes that they are created from.

"The ability to work in the development of everyday objects brings a sense of grounding and purpose to my practice. I am interested in creating beautiful, functional pieces that connect with the human psyche. Pieces that have the ability to tell a story and to enrich the tasks and the lives of the user".

Adam Simpson

Adam Simpson

Managing Director, Simpsons Solicitors

Managing Director at Simpsons Solicitors, Chair Federal Government Creative Industries Innovation Centre Advisory Board, member Enterprise Connect Advisory Council and Chair of MakerSpace &company Foundation

Adam has been a lawyer and advisor working with the creative industries for over 15 years. He is the Managing Director at Simpsons Solicitors, one of the leading arts/entertainment and intellectual property law firms in Australia. His clients include multinational entertainment companies as well as Australia’s most successful creative businesses and artists.

He initiated and chaired the Contemporary Music Working Group for many years. He has been a director of the Music Council of Australia and Viscopy (the collecting society for visual artists). He was selected to attend the Prime Minister’s 2020 Summit in the Creative Stream. From this, he helped initiate and is a member of the Federal Government’s Creative Australia Advisory Group. 


Event Details

In an industry awash with slick marketing, glossy mags and tightly curated Instagram accounts, we are prying open complex cans of worms with candid debates about the stuff we don't like to talk about. And by debate, we mean debate. We are going to fight our way through the pitfalls and air punches of getting your designs made: should Australian Design be Manufactured in Australia?

AFFIRMATIVE TEAM: Studio Enti and Dresden Optics
NEGATIVE TEAM: DesignByThem  and Trent Jansen Studio
CHAIR: Adam Simpson

Who will benefit most from this can of worms?

Small/early-stage design and making businesses looking to scale their operations. And the purchasing public, who love the romance of local cottage industry makers, are less likely to question industrial design being produced off shore, and don't understand the challenges and implications that must be navigated for a small designer to scale and make a viable income from their work.

MakerSpace &company exists to help early-stage maker-businesses grow and thrive. We know that in building a viable, vibrant creative business the path is never straight. For an industry that prides itself on collaboration, we're not so great at sharing. Let's learn from the experiences of those who have forged new ways, and create smarter, better businesses together.

Why are we inviting leaders in the design and making industry to literally debate the big issues?

By pitting Affirmative against Negative allows us to stoke the fire, it forces strong opinions and a frank, lively conversation. And it will be fun.

Manufacturing is one of the hardest things to navigate scaling up production of a design. There is trendy dichotomy of "locally made is best", and "manufacturing in Asia is bad." A sentiment that would have more weight if backed by forking out the extra cash for locally made work and buying it. Are there genuine opportunities to ethically partner with manufacturers in developing countries?

We've recently found ourselves in conversations with passionate declarations of "it's so much easier in Europe/USA/UK..." We want to know if the grass is truly greener. Is there a situation in which manufacturing locally/in a developed country/in a developing country is best? Join us to find out.

This event is presented by MakerSpace &company


*Booking and transaction fees may apply

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